If you were in Southampton this weekend, you couldn’t have failed to have been impressed by Cunard’s new cruise ship, Queen Victoria.
In a spectacular ceremony on Monday, the ship was officially named by the Duchess of Cornwall, in front of a 2,000-strong audience.
The great and the good (and the press) were entertained by the likes of popular Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins and established actor Sir Derek Jacobi, who performed on a stage in front of the ship.
British flags were in abundance, ready to be waved during a raucous chorus of Rule Britannia, led by three tenors and accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Fireworks, choir boys, the Royal Marines, dancers and the attendance of the Prince of Wales along with Camilla all made for a moving and inspiring occasion. In fact, it was not dissimilar to an official state ceremony and certainly stirred a sense of national pride.
Established in 1840, Cunard has a long history, and is one of the most recognisable brands in the travel industry. Its structure reflects days gone by – Queen Victoria continues the tradition of grill class, which offers passengers travelling upper class separate dining and lounge areas.
While other cruiselines are veering towards less formality on board, Cunard is confidently sticking to its guns – and the considerable demand for its product only underlines the diversity of cruise passengers.
The amount of national and international press interest has already sparked consumer interest: one travel agent I spoke to this week took a booking for the ship the day after the launch was announced on the news. The couple who booked have never cruised before, but were persuaded to try it after seeing Queen Victoria on TV.
Long may she sail.
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